By Bryan Boggiano
City commissioners voted 3-2 to adopt Resolution 2021-059 at their Oct. 20 meeting. The resolution marks the commission’s opposition to anti-abortion legislation in Texas and other states.
In Texas, the state passed legislation that effectively bans abortions after six weeks and has no exceptions for rape or incest. Private citizens can sue any person or clinic who “aids and abets” an abortion, even those they have no connection to and seek damages up to $10,000.
Florida lawmakers introduced similar legislation.
The city resolution also urges other municipalities to join their efforts to defend abortion rights and reproductive care. It also directs the city’s state lobbyists to advocate against anti-abortion legislation.
The vote came after roughly 20 speakers spoke out either for or against the resolution and an extended discussion from the commission. The commission previously tabled the resolution.
Those opposed to the resolution included representatives from the Broward County Right To Life and other activists in the pro-life movement.
Some alleged that it would divide the community, not fit with Coral Springs’s mission statement, nor encourage adoption. They also spoke about women’s long-term health issues and said city officials should not talk about partisan issues.
“This resolution is not a solution. Instead, it’s a promotion to destroy families and discriminate against the most vulnerable,” said Maritza Kacerosky.
Some warned that commissioners would have blood on their hands if it passed.
For another speaker, Joseph Little, the issue was personal. Three doctors recommended his wife abort his son, who had various health conditions, but he refused. His son died at six months old.
“I will never regret the fact that I got to hold him in my hands for six months,” he said.
Others said that local governments are essential for safeguarding rights, abortion is a decision between a woman and her doctor and not the government, abortions are an issue of privacy, and access to reproductive healthcare is essential for safety.
“With all politics being local, we look to our elected officials to uphold [the Constitution], from which our democracy was born,” said Zachary Durand.
Some speakers expressed fear that unsafe abortions would make a comeback if a Texas-style law passed in Florida. For Lisa Robert, she worried about the effects such a law would have on women.
“As a woman, I find this to be very personal,” she said. “I want for my health and the health of my daughter to be cared for.”
The commission had a difficult conversation on the subject, with Commissioner Joy Carter acknowledging the city’s divisiveness. She also considered her personal beliefs. She believed that either way, she voted, half of the city would disagree. Mayor Scott Brook echoed a similar message, saying he does not want the city to be “us vs. them.”
Commissioner Sean Cerra acknowledged the controversy and questioned the city’s role on the issue. Vice Mayor Joshua Simmons and Commissioner Nancy Metayer expressed the need for having tough conversations. Metayer said that considering the political climate, it is important to stand up for women.
“I believe that cities are the centers of comprehensive healthcare and reproductive healthcare,” she said. “A woman should have the right to choose what she wants to do with her body.”
Carter and Metayer voted for the resolution, as did Vice Mayor Simmons. Mayor Brook and Cerra voted against it.
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- A University of Florida journalism graduate, Bryan is pursuing his masters in geosciences at Florida International University. He has a strong interest in weather, entertainment, and journalism.
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